In August of 1619, we saw the first 30 slaves arrive in “the new world” and it’s been one shit-show after another. The systematic racial oppression extends from the strictest hate monger to the most polite person saying “I don’t even see color”. I used to be the latter. I have evolved past the denial stage and come to the realization that I do see color and I do see pain in the colorful faces of the friends who’ve experienced the system I’ve been blind to or only marginally aware of for a long time.
Privilege is a word you hear a lot these days. White privilege. Male privilege. Hetro privilege. What is that? I used to think – I’m not rich, what privilege could I possibly have? I have the privilege of not being the 1 in every 1000 black men who will be killed by a cop. I have the privilege of not being the woman passed over for promotion because I don’t have a penis or I won’t put up with sexual harassment. I have the privilege of being able to kiss my wife in public and not have people think twice about it because I’m a man and she’s a woman and “…that’s a family…”. The system serves me. What do I do with that?
I thought, like many do, that I am an ally by virtue of not being racist. I thought I was doing my part by being one of the good ones…. that’s not enough. To be “One of the good ones” you have to be vocal and stand to be counted for what you believe in. I’ve been participating in the Justice in June research project, educating myself with sources provided by Autumn Gupta with Bryanna Wallace in this free Google Doc. It’s a guided study that is helping me climb out of the “I’m one of the good ones” mind set and become one of the good ones for real.
To that end, I’m not only studying, I’m also acting. Defund12.org is curating form letters for communities around the country to city leaders to defund and restructure city Police forces, insisting on demilitarization, crying out for increased training, demanding increased social and community programs and solving problems rather than just throwing more money at an already bloated and under trained, uncaring, biased police force. I have drafted the letter for my community and am awaiting review at Defund12. I’ll post a link when it’s live. You should do the same if your community is not represented.
When you hear “Black Lives Matter” if your first thought is “All Lives Matter”, of course they do and of course you mean well, but you’re still part of the problem without intending to be so. Educate yourself and understand why when I say “Save the rain-forest” I’m not saying “All other forests can go F themselves”. If you are a Democrat or a Republican understand that it doesn’t matter. Not only do those two groups not define you as a person, they are not defined by you. They don’t matter and they don’t care about what you believe. The only thing that matters is knowing yourself and being kind to one another. It’s how we survive this and learn from our mistakes and move forward.
Make this moment a movement.